Greek Educational System for Tourist Guides by Efi Kalamboukidou

The School of Tourist Guides in Greece is a state school (Ministry of Development) it is compulsory for guides in all museums, sites, monuments, churches etc and the studies last for 2,5 years. All guides in Greece are national guides-which means they have a guiding permission to work in the whole country-and not local guides like in other countries.

The permanent Schools for Tourist Guides are located in Athens and Thessalonica and, if there is more tourist guides demand they can also study in Rhodes, Crete, Corfu and Lesvos islands (all of them 2,5 years).

The candidates must be members of the E.U. Countries with a certificate of fluency in Modern Greek language, or foreigners of Greek origin from non-E.U. Members, who also speak Greek and they have to have a high-school degree (12 years).

First they have to take oral and written exams at least in one foreign language of their choice and succeed 16 out of 20 points in it.

If they pass that, they take written exams in essay, Greek history, Greek geography and an interview and have to have 14 out of 20 points in these. The exams are every 3 years and the candidates who succeed are 30-35 persons in every one of the Schools above.

The lessons of the Schools are compulsory to attend and are:
1. Ancient Greek history - 50 hours
2. Byzantine history - 50 hours
3. Modern Greek history - 50 hours
4. Prehistoric archaeology - 80 hours
5. Classical archaeology - 120 hours
6. Byzantine and post- Byzantine archaeology - 120 hours
7. History of art - 100 hours
8. History of architecture - 30 hours
9. History of theatre - 30 hours
10. Religions' study - 40 hours
11. Mythology - 20 hours
12. History of ancient Greek literature - 30 hours
13. History of Modern Greek literature - 20 hours
14. Folklore - 30 hours
15. Geography (Natural, Touring) - 30 hours
16. Ecology, Greek environment - 60 hours
17. Geology, Palaeontology, Spileology - 20 hours
18. Archaeological law - 20 hours
19. Tourist Law and Tourist development - 30 hours
20. Travel agencies and hotels - 30 hours
21. Psychology of the tourist - 20 hours
22. First Aid - 20 hours
23. Orthophony - 10 hours
24. Practice in guiding - 30 hours
25. Practice in guiding on the bus - 30 hours

Plus 110 hours of lessons in museums’ visits about archaeology and 260 hours of visiting sites and practice guiding in situ (sites, monuments)

Every semester there are written and oral exams for 6the students on the lessons above and final exams for the diploma (14/20 points). If an licensed guide wishes to work in another foreign language than the one s/he has taken exams then s/he has to be tested on that language written and orally.

Our work is mostly for travel agencies tourists, cruise boats, school children, congresses etc and when we are paid we issue a receipt including 3% taxes and 15,9 % social security and insurance fees for our state insurance. At the same time our employer has to pay 27,96% for our social security and insurance to the Greek state for us, so we don't have any private insurance, because the guide and the travel agent - or whoever employer - both share it and pay for it every time.

Efi Kalamboukidou